Jared Krattiger’s year-long quest is one step from completion.
The Waterford High School season is wrestling like a man on a mission, making his run to a state championship look almost effortless.
Krattiger advanced to the state title match at 182 pounds Friday, making short work of Stoughton freshman Brooks Emprey at the WIAA State Individual Tournament at the Kohl Center in Madison.
Krattiger’s senior teammate, Jack Trautman, joined him as a championship finalist by dominating Adam Jones of South Milwaukee in the 195-pound semifinals.
Joining the Wolverines duo in the finals is Burlington freshman Hayden Halter, who continued a strong run at 106 pounds with a quick pin of Waunakee freshman Sam Lorenz in his semifinal.
Three wrestlers lost in the semifinals and fell to the consolation bracket, where they are guaranteed a spot on the medal stand (top six). They can finish as high as third place.
Union Grove freshman Cade Willis lost to Justin Groshek of Stevens Point 9-2 in the 106 semifinals, Burlington sophomore Jake Skrundz lost to Max Bruss of De Pere in the 145 semifinals and Park senior Tre Williams lost to two-time defending state champion Keaton Kluever of Kaukauna in the 285 semifinals.
Just one of the eight county wrestlers who began the day in the consolation bracket, Burlington senior Nate Crayton, advanced to a medal position. Crayton won both of his consolation matches to assure himself a medal.
The other seven in the consolation bracket lost their first or second match of the day and were eliminated.
Krattiger (49-1), who had wrestled for less than seven minutes in his first two matches, added just 1:13 to his time to pin Empey (31-20), who had pinned his previous two upperclass opponents.
“He took him down, cut him and got three takedowns,” Waterford coach Tom Fitzpatrick said of Krattiger’s attack in the match. “He went for the pin and got that adrenalin strength going — he put him on his back and he wasn’t going anywhere.”
Fittingly, it comes down to No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Wisconsin Wrestling Online rankings as Krattiger’s opponent in the 182 title match is second-ranked Isaac Lahr, a senior from Holmen (49-3).
“Jared just has to keep believing,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s on a mission and he can’t make it a close match — he has to score points, points and more points.
“If he does that, he’s going to end his career with a bang.”
At 195, Trautman (47-3), ranked second, earned his second technical fall in three matches by beating the ninth-ranked Jones (43-4) in 4:11 (17-1) to reach the final.
“Jack started out rough as (Jones) tried to scramble out and he got a point,” Fitzpatrick said. “It was an intense match and, sometimes in heated matches, you can get a little out of control, but (Trautman) was able to keep his composure.”
Like the 182 final, the matchup at 195 will be battle of the two top-ranked wrestlers. Trautman’s opponent is No. 1-ranked and unbeaten Neenah senior Beau Yineman (44-0), who lost to Krattiger in last year’s third-place match at 182.
“He’s a goer,” Fitzpatrick said of Yineman. “It’s going to come down to who is attacking first. The more aggressive guy is going to be the one to win the match.
“Jack has been aggressive and if keeps using that style, I like his chances.”
Halter (47-2), ranked third at 106 pounds, needed just 1:21 to pin Waunakee freshman Sam Lorenz (46-5) in the semifinal. Lorenz was ranked sixth.
In the championship match Saturday, Halter will face second-ranked Groshek (43-1), who spoiled a chance at an all-Racine County championship match by winning a 9-2 decision over the seventh-ranked Willis.
Skrundz (37-5), ranked fifth, led the match early against the third-ranked Bruss (43-4), but got turned and pinned in 2:39.
Williams was able to go the entire six minutes against Kluever (47-2), but the two-time defending champion won a 12-3 major decision.
Crayton (45-6), who lost to Krattiger in the first round Thursday, reached the consolation semifinals with two victories. He beat Jacob Zupke of Mequon Homestead 3-2 in the first round of consolation, then beat Jared Walton of Green Bay Combined 9-3 in the consolation quarterfinals.
In the consolation semifinals, Willis faces Cody Minor of Ashwaubenon (45-2), Skrundz faces Brandon Lucht of Antigo (41-10) and Williams faces Charlie Covert of Slinger (37-9).
In other consolation action, sophomores Cody Welker (41-11 at 120) and Ben Kumprey (39-15 at 152) and juniors Zach Weiler (44-10 at 132) and Wyatt Hayes (16-9 at 285), all of Burlington, won their first matches, but lost their second ones to end their seasons.
Horlick senior Antonio Puentes (38-7 at 113), Park senior Isiah Culp (29-13 at 120) and Burlington sophomore Ben Stevenson 41-10 at 126) lost their first consolation matches.